2017 wasn’t my greatest reading year of all time, but it was far from being my worst. I read some really good books this year, but a lot of my best reading came from the depths of my TBR pile. Even so, I did find some current year winners that I love to share with other readers. So, without further ado, here are the top five books I’ve read that were published this year.
Wilde in Love by Eloisa James
For pure charm, this book was a winner for me in 2017. It’s been a rough and wild year, and this book was whimsical and happy enough to just make me smile at a time I truly needed it. The characters are likable, and all the moving parts in this book just came together for me. Celebrity culture doesn’t generally do much for me, but this book has a great take on it. Alaric, Willa and the ensemble cast at Lindow Castle are a treat and I even liked the animals in this book (no mean feat by Ms. James – I’m not usually a fan of whimsical animal tales in my romance).
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran
There’s something so sexy about finding a true meeting of equals, and the meeting of the minds in this novel is what really made it for me. The ruthless politician hero was a man I thought I’d never come to like but Duran made it work. I often say that a great writer can make any problematic character or plot point work, and Duran does both in this novel. Amnesia plots are often ridiculous, but Duran uses her hero’s beating-induced amnesia as a way to make him learn and remember who he really is. And Jane is a fantastic, smart heroine. I liked watching them strategize together, but I loved watching them fall for each other. (This is on-sale right now for 1.99)
Beauty Like the Night by Joanna Bourne
I feel like a broken record mentioning this one as it has appeared on so many “Best of 2017” lists. It really IS worth a read, though. I have been reading Bourne’s books out of order(the order I find them in my packing boxes doesn’t sound like much of a plan, but here we are). However, even without having read some of the predecessors to this book, I could still sink into Severine and Raoul’s story. Like all of Bourne’s novels that I’ve read to date, this one is intelligently written and has a very precise quality to it that made the story just keep building in my head as I read.
A Grave Calling by Wendy Roberts
This book stood out in my mind because of its heroine. In a genre where so many protagonists come from the upper classes, Julie Hall is a young woman who works in a gas station and lives in a trailer. She also struggles with PTSD and an often unwanted supernatural gift. I really liked Julie and even if her relationship with Agent Garrett Pierce crossed all kinds of police-witness boundaries, I found their chemistry compelling and the moody quality of the book drew me as well. If this ends up being a series, sign me up. (This is on sale right now for 3.99)
The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
Reay is an autobuy for me and while this isn’t my very favorite of her books, it’s still good. Reay writes inspirationals, and her voice is quite unique. For starters, her contemporaries feature characters that actually read like people from the 21st century – her heroine in this novel is an engineer working for a startup in Austin. She has a lot of the work stresses that folks I know must deal with. Into this rather realistic picture of life, Reay injects a bit of over-the-top plotting and whimsy in the form of an escape to an estate that is basically a luxurious Austen-themed time capsule, complete with early 19th century entertainments and dreamy dresses. It’s implausible but fun, and I did really like the way the author wove her interpretations of Austen’s characters into the story. (This is on sale right now for 1.99)
That Last Weekend by Laura DiSilverio
While not truly a romance, I did enjoy this mystery. For me, this tale of a creepy old hotel and its long-buried secrets falls into the category of “flawed but entertaining.” I read a lot of Christopher Pike novels in the 1990s, and this book feels like a perfect throwback to those.